Bjork is releasing a new album in which the 10 separate ‘album’ tracks are being released as individual iPad apps done by the best designers in the biz. But will this be a boundary pushing multimedia extravaganza? Pitchfork calls the strategy ‘forward-thinking’ and Michael Cragg’s (The Guardian) article at the start of the month praised Bjork’s for making her ‘biggest leap forward’ and I imagine Michael is lifting right from the press release when he writes ’(Bjork’s) app project explodes the scope (of her previous obsession on the inner self) on to the macro level, taking in the entire universe and drawing far-reaching parallels between the ever-evolving technological landscape and the natural landscape around us’. However I question that. I am a fan of Bjork. Volta, her previous album, was fantastic and she plays a very impressive visual live set. Crystalline, the first track I’ve heard off her Biophillia project, and the inspiration for writing this, is a decent song, not her best, but a cracking ending. The question still keeps bothering me though, do I want to consume my music sat in front of a screen watching visuals flicker as I attempt to battle a chronic virus attacking my screen? I do value App’s. I like the accesability they offer in a 3G environment. I also enjoy the odd bit of Social gaming too. But what is my biggest App pet hate? One which blocks the music I’m already listening to. Bjork is attempting to enrage (not engage!) me by giving me no option to consume online content whilst listening to her music… I look forward to having a peek at the finished article and being proven wrong, but this isn’t new ground, it’s essentially a new release strategy, but after Kaiser Chiefs and Radiohead (probably the most innovative consumer engaging release I’ve seen online) what’s next? It is my opinion that the Biophillia project is just a snappier version of what used to happen when I used to stick my favourite CD in the PlaystationOne … a desperate scramble for the remote to turn the contrast down and brightness off. For all of the regular music consumers out there fortunately we’ll be able to get our hands on the digital version of Biophillia online at some point in September. FYI Pitchfork and The Guardian, I’d buy more into this ‘forward-thinking’ stuff if there wasn’t actually a regular digital and physical release. If you want your music forward thinking, go and buy Zaireeka! - borrow a load of CD players, and enjoy!
As a side I discovered a new website today when doing some research on Bjork, so thought I’d share it with all. Groovecount. Mission statement is ‘(we) measure online reach and fame of music stars across the world.’ Right? If your into Music PR, is this your bible? Probably not but it sounded interesting. So what are they tracking? Groovecount looks at the Big 3 social networks as well as Last.fm and Spotify. Simply this measures the Facebook likes, the YouTube views etc. Not all that engaging… but anything that lists Coldplay as the number one band with the biggest reach in the United Kingdom … I’ll leave that up to you. As for Bjork, she’s consolidated her spot at #142.